Book Review – Tales of the City – Armistead Maupin
- Book: Tales of the City
- Author: Armistead Maupin
- Genre: Modern Literature
- Year of Release: 1978
- Read 371-page paperback edition in January 2015.
This novel centres around the residents of 28 Barbary Lane in San Francisco of the late 1970s. A diverse mix of people dominates the tales, which are written in a snippet of short chapters that originally appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper. We see this diverse group of people come in and out of each others lives in unique times, spaces, and ways.
Overall, I thought this novel was a very enjoyable read, very easy to get into the spirit of life exploration of the many different characters. The novel was also a very quick read, and it was easy to get interested in what people were doing, and keep reading, wanting to know what happens next. Because it was originally written as a serial for the newspaper, the chapters are short, manageable chunks, and the novel becomes a quick read. The serial feeling of the novel creates excitement and enjoyment as we read on to see what happens next for this array of people. Although the serial approach is a good one, the downside is that we don’t get into too much detail on many of the characters, and it often feels we are just skimming the surface of what may be going on with many of the characters. On that note, Maupin does a good job of capturing some of the characters feelings and emotions, but some characters have more of a priority and focus, so we gain more understanding from them then we do from some of the other characters.
Maupin does do a great job of capturing the way life was in San Francisco in the 1970s, with the drugs, acceptance of lgbt people not found in many other places, and the attitudes of sexual openness of the time period, both in straight and lgbt communities.
Overall, this was an interesting, fun, and fast read.
Overall: 3.5 stars out of 5 stars